We all dream of it but getting it done is a reality that we often think is beyond our ability. However, decluttering your home is possible.
Why bother, you ask? If you’re planning on selling your home any time soon, the answer is obvious. But even if you have no plans to sell, you will likely be happier in a decluttered home.
Here’s how to do it. Start by not thinking of it as simply a one-weekend process. After all, if you consider how long it took you to clutter up your home, how can you expect to declutter it in a weekend.
So, we start with a confusing statement. Think big and think small at the same time. By that, we mean think about what you want your whole home to look like when you’re done. Once that’s done, go back and picture one room at a time. If that’s overwhelming, go with part of a room. You may want to pick the room or space that bothers you the most.
As an example, if it seems too much to consider the whole kitchen at one time, start with the cabinets or the pantry.
A great benefit of handling your declutter project this way is that you will achieve success more quickly. That will motivate you to do more.
One of the most difficult initial steps is to try to avoid bringing big new stuff into your home until the declutter project is completed. That may be easier said than done, especially if this is a long-term project. At the very least, think about how this new item will fit while you are decluttering.
If you’re ready to start the project now with one room, or part of a room, here’s the first step. You need five containers Depending on how big the project is, you may want big containers. But keep in mind, that you are going to have to lift and move them at some point.
These containers should hold five distinct purposes. One is for things that you need to put away. Another is for recycling. The third is for items that need to be fixed. Fourth is trash. And the final one is for items you plan on donating.
Now it’s time to pick a room. If it’s the bathroom, start with the medicine cabinet. Empty it. Anything that is outdated, goes in the trash container. Put everything else back, and try to keep the items you use most often at eye level. Then, do the same thing with cabinet drawers. Your shower and tub and finally the storage below the sink.
Next, let’s try the bedroom(s). Begin with the nightstands. If something doesn’t belong there, place it in the put away container. Trash or recycle anything that you don’t need anymore. Follow the same process with dressers, chests and bureaus. If you don’t wear it anymore, put it in the donation container. If you have a desk or vanity in the bathroom, do the same thing with them. Now, go back to the put away container and put each item in there where they belong.
The biggest challenge in the bedroom will be the closet. As you did with the other parts of the bedroom, decide what you’re keeping, trashing or donating. This may be a good opportunity to repair any fallen racks or shelving, and you may want to consider using a handyman for that. Then, start putting back what you’re keeping in an organized way.
Moving on to the kitchen, pick items that go together. For example, there may be a space for pots and pans but, over time, they may have spread to other areas and different items may be in their space. So, first determine what goes where. Then, take everything out and put it back where it’s supposed to go. And, as always, trash, recycle or donate anything you don’t need anymore.
It’s also a good idea to try to get the countertops as clear as possible. To determine what should stay on the countertops, consider if you use it every day. If you don’t, find a storage space for it.
Finally, we’re in the living room. This is a challenge because it may be the room you use more than any other, and there’s usually not a lot of storage in it.
Let’s tackle the bookcases first. If you are a book collector, this may seem overwhelming. Go through your books. There may be some you will read again. There may be others you want to keep for sentimental reasons. And then, there’s the rest. Box them up and bring them to the bookstore. You may actually make a few dollars selling them for resale.
Next, look at your TV or home-entertainment system. If there are things not connected to it that you’re not using, store or trash them.
If you have children, you have toys. Some of those toys may no longer be used. Those can be trashed, recycled or donated. The rest can go in your put away container and delivered to the spot in the home where they actually belong.
Once you’re done, you should be closer to the home you visualized at the beginning of the process. And don’t worry. If you’re not totally satisfied, decluttering your home is something you can and will likely do again and again – until you get it right.